“Beyond the Wave and Foam”, Part 23

Part 23

 

After a long day deep in the ocean Calista enjoyed stretching out in the “hot tub”, a section of the bungalow she shared with Harmony where the water was heated to just shy of fifty Centigrade, or around one hundred and twenty Fahrenheit. She unfurled her tail and positioned it over one of the many jets set into the walls.

This and the rubdown they received after dinner on Omelek Island made spending the day in cold darkness worth while.

Though Harmony and she did quite a lot of work, it wasn’t nearly as bad as she expected. Yes, it was dark, and it was cold, and there wasn’t a time when she didn’t feel the pressure twelve hundred meters of what exerted—

However, the lights lowered by the Savannah kept them test set illuminated well. After getting used to the temperatures—thanks to insulating layer of skin and fat her new DNA provided—she rarely gave it any thought. And though the water pressure was approximately one hundred and nineteen atmospheres, she managed to ignore the discomfort after fifteen minutes at depth.

It was a long test: they spent nearly nine hours on the bottom. But they found all the holes in the hull and deck and sealed them, created openings where they attached valve fittings so the Savannah could pump out water, fitted the flotation bladders and filled them, and followed the test hull upward, correcting the Savannah personnel when they saw the hull beginning to list or pitch too much.

With the test hull secured next to the research vessel, Calista and Harmony rode in their tank back to Omelek, unloaded, ate, got a hour-long massage, and were taken back to their bungalow via speed boat.

Harmony swam in with a hard cider in each hand. “Here’s to a job well done.” She handed one to Calista as she sat back and opened hers in one smooth movement.

“And to my mentor and partner—” Calista opened her cider and clicked it against Harmony’s. “—who did all the hard work getting me to this point.”

“Bullshit. I did the talking: you got yourself here.” Harmony took a long draw off her drink, downing over a third. “Oh, that’s good.”

After a quick sip Calista had to ask the question she’d had on her mind since arriving at Johnson Island. “Why aren’t we supposed to drink a lot of cider? Or, for that matter, drink anything harder than cider?”

Harmony set her bottle aside and stretched out in the hot water. “Our bodies don’t metabolize alcohol the same way as they did when we were human. Four ciders would not only get us pretty much blackout drunk, but it affects how our lungs separate oxygen from the water and puts the carbon dioxide back. Hard liquor affects us even worse.” She gazed at her tail flukes as she shrugged. “It could literally kill us.”

Calista grimaced as she thought of all her past nights out in Jacksonville where she’d been so drunk she needed someone to driver her home, or she left her car at a club and called Uber to get her back to her apartment. While she’d suffered the following morning, she never had to worry about waking up the next day. Those days are over in more than one way

She decided to change the subject. “What’s up for tomorrow?”

“Not a whole lot. We head over for breakfast and then we get a lot of medical exams—or I should say, you get them.” Harmony chuckled. “I’ve been through this already, so they don’t need to poke and prod me like they will you. I get to watch, though.”

“Bitch.” Calista looked at Harmony as she smiled. “After that?”

“After that it’s lunch, then we get taken back to Roi-Namur, load us on a plane, and fly us back to Johnson Island.” Harmony took another drink of her cider. “We’ll have to talk to the lab people when we return, but we’ll have dinner in our own bungalows and sleep in our own beds tonight.”

“That’ll be nice.” Calista cradled her cider between her breasts just above the water line. “It’ll be good to see Izzy again.”

Harmony set her bottle aside again. “Yeah, about that—” She turned to her mentee. “You’re gonna have to tell her soon that you’re moving in with me at Down Below Town.” She eyed Calista carefully. “You haven’t said anything, have you?”

Calista wouldn’t meet her mentor’s gaze. “No.”

“Dammit, Calista, you’ve known about this for a few weeks now.” Harmony lightly touched Calista’s upper arm. “I’m sure she’s figured it out by now, but you need to tell her when we get back.”

“I know.” Even though only a little of Calista remained human, she was finding leaving her old life behind difficult—particularly the part that included her best friend. “Give me a week, will you? I promise, I’ll let her know.”

For almost five seconds Harmony said nothing, then she raised her left arm and tapped her wrist with her right index finger. “Clock’s tickin’, honey. I’ll trust you to get this done.”

“Don’t worry—” Calista drained the rest of her cider and headed for the kitchen, knowing she needed another. “I’ll get it done.”

Beyond the Rune: Secrets Within Secrets

Wait… what is this?  An Excerpt?  Why yes, it is.

Allow me to explain.

I’ve been listening to my play lists on YouTube, because when you’re home all the time there’s not much else one can do, though in the last couple of weeks I’ve made something like six or seven new lists–

But never mind that.  Today I decided to listen to the Music For Witches play list, the one that has all the tune that are, or will show up, in my Foundation Chronicles series, and after fixing the videos that couldn’t be accessed I decided to give it a listen, and with every song I remembered the second of the story or trailer where the song occurs…

And I remembered it had been a while since I last wrote in C For Continuing.  As it turns out, it was exactly thirty-one day ago. (You may want to read this again to remember where you left off.)

And that got me to wanting to write.  To be precise, I needed to finish Chapter Twenty-eight.

So I did.

Yep. I did this.

 

Nearly eleven hundred words in about an hour, and a chapter that is just short of seven thousand words detailing the events before, during, and after the second big vision Annie and Kerry have during the C Levels.

Which means you get to read it all right now.

Enjoy.

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

Helena wrapped the door three times; she always felt that was enough to get someone’s attention. If they weren’t around to answer, then she always believed she wouldn’t have expended too much energy trying to let someone who wasn’t there she was waiting outside. On the other hand, three knocks was enough to get anyone’s attention in the Instructor’s Residence and if they didn’t answer the door, chances were they didn’t want to speak with her.

Given that the Head Sorceress knew the person with whom she wished to speak was in her room, if the door didn’t open in the following few seconds she’d have to assume they were trying to duck her—

The door opened and Deanna smiled brightly. “What can I do for you, Helena?”

“Moment of your time?” Helena leaned against the door frame, trying press herself ever-so-slight into the seer’s personal space.

“Of course.” Deanna opened the door and stepped back.”

“Thank you.” Helena wore her slippers down from her room as she knew she’d need to remove her shoes once inside Deanna’s room. She set them aside and headed for one of the two reading chairs next to each other in a corner of the living space. “Mind if I sit?”

“No, not at all.” Deanna waited for her guest to get comfortable before adjusting her abaya as she sat in the chair to her Helena’s right. “I gather you have questions about the children’s vision?”

“You could say that.” Helena let silence take hold for a moment before going on. “How many other visions have they had like the one today?”

Deanna’s smile didn’t change at all while giving her response. “I’m not a liberty to divulge that information.”

Helena needed a second to take in what she’d just heard. “I’m sorry—what?”

“I’m not permitted to give you that information.”

“I see.” Helena tapped her right cheek slowly. “My I ask why?”

“Because, for the most part, visions and pronouncements are guarded.” Deanna slowly cross her right ankle over her left as she pushed herself back into her chair. “That prevents outside persons or parties attempting to interpret said visions and pronouncements in a way that prevents them from occurring—or worst yet, making them happen.” She chuckled. “You’re no the only one with secrets, Helena.”

“And yet you called me in to hear their vision.” Helena sighed as she, too, sat back. “Why did you do that?”

“I was concerned by what I heard today. And I felt that what happened to Annie and Kerry today needed—” Deanna shrugged. “I guess they needed someone who better understood what they’d seen to help them understand it as well.”

“Still, you let me hear audio of their vision.”

“For just the one time. It auto deleted right after it finished playing. Sabrina confirmed that—as I’m certain you know.”

So our AI did tell her I tried to listen again. Sneaky little bitch. Helena’s expression remained fixed to conceal her thoughts. “And what if I needed to hear it again?”

Deanna set her left against the chair’s arm and leaned towards her guest. “The audio’s been sent to the London Archive, per normal procedure. If you need to hear it again, contact the Prognosticators and give them a detailed explanation—”

 

There was a time, long ago, when the word Prognosticator was used, and it was Annie saying it to Ms. Rutherford while discussing day tripping around London in the lobby of the Park Place Sherlock Holmes.  This was before a certain ginger hair boy knew anything about witches or the love a chestnut hair girl from Bulgaria had for him, before anyone walked through Founder’s Gate, before there was all that hand holding going on in both London and Amsterdam and being asked out on a date and the term soul mate was used for the first time–

So now you know: Prognosticators have all the visions.  And they keep them in an archive in London.  And they hold on to their secrets as tightly as the Guardians hang on to theirs.

And this is not going to make Helena a happy sorceress…

 

“—Of the vision and why I need to hear it again.” There were only two occasions where Helena needed to check out a particular vision from the Prognosticators’ London Archive, and both experiences were unpleasant. “So you won’t tell me what I need to know.”

Deanna cocked her head slightly to the right. “That depends.”

“On?”

“On whether or not I feel you have a need to know.”

Though Helena had interacted with Deanna on a number of occasions before—both in public and private—never has she come across this taciturn and cold. She’s guarding something and doing her damnedest to keep it from me. “And what if I told you I needed to hear that vision again?”

“If it was absolutely necessary for you to hear it again I’d give the Prognosticators a compelling reason to give you access, but I’d need assurance there was an absolute necessity—” Deanna’s head barley shook. “And right now I don’t see the necessity.”

Helena was an expert when it came to stonewalling and she knew when it was time to stop pushing. “Well, then—” She rose to her feet. “I guess we’re done.”

Deanna stood a moment later. “Yes, we are.”

The sorceress turned and took two steps towards the door, then turned, appearing to remember something. “One thing, though—” Helena locked her cold, black eyes upon the young seer. “If they’d never had a vision prior to this one concerning Guardian activities, why would you ask for keywords that might pop up in future visions?” A quizzical look formed on Helena’s face. “Hum?”

For a moment Deanna’s expression didn’t change, then she burst out with a short, happy laugh. “Oh, please. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what’s been going on with these two kid for the last year and a half. And even if I weren’t a counselor, I’d guess they were involved in some Guardian chicanery—starting with their little off-site excursion back in April of ‘12.”

 

Once more we see that people around Salem figure Annie and Kerry were up to something when they vanished for a few days in April and it had to do with some shit Helena was running.  Of course, Helena is gonna do what all the spooks do–deny everything:

 

Helena smiled as she put on her slippers. “Nothing happened then, Deanna.” She finished and stood. “Annie went home to visit her mother, Kerry went to New York for medical test.” She shrugged. “It’s that simple.”

“Simple… yes.” Deanna moved slowly across the room, closing the distance between her and her guest. “Which is why there are reports attached to their personal files concerning the period of time they were away from the school at that time…” She stopped an arm’s length away. “Reports filed with redacted information.” She stared up into the sorceress’ eyes and spoke in a low, warning voice. “I’m not an idiot, Helena: don’t ever try to bullshit me again.”

Helena said nothing for several seconds as she considered Deanna’s words and tone. Finally she nodded one. “I won’t.” She nodded over her shoulder at the door. “I’ll see myself out. Thank you for your time.”

A smile appeared as Deanna’s face lit up as if nothing had happened. “You’re quiet welcome.”

The seer was still smiled as Helena stepped into the hallway and quietly closed the door. She squared her shoulders and exhaled deeply, mumbling to herself as she headed towards her own room. “Damn good thing she never became a Guardian.”

And in the process of doing so she gets called out, something that doesn’t happen often with the Head Sorceress, and something we’ve never seen Deanna do to another person.  You can bet Helena never does this again.

Now the question is–

What comes next?

I think I know.